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In order to ascertain whether or not the body of Jesus was stolen or moved between the time of his burial to the time of his resurrection, it is necessary to demonstrate that a tomb such as the one described by Scripture could have existed in 1 st century Israel and that no one tampered with the tomb. Jewish people had to be buried within hours of death.

Thus, Joseph offered His tomb, not solely out of honor per say, but in order to meet Jewish burial customs. Jerusalem is surrounded by ancient rock-cut tombs that are artificially carved into the stone, confirmed to be used predominantly by the upper class, and were the burial site of bodies wrapped in shrouds. Two of these tomb types included flat shelves or benches that the deceased body would be laid upon for burial.

There is one final feature of the biblical tomb that has scholars divided: the presence of a circular stone to seal the opening. However, his own analysis proves to be his undoing. William Lane Craig also comments that the bench style tombs arcosolia were used by wealthy Jews and contained rolling blocking stones. In addition to the existence of the tomb, there is also good evidence that the biblical account of the tomb being supervised by a Roman guard is accurate, assuring that nothing other than a resurrection could account for the body disappearing.

The amount of human exertion combined with the noise caused by a rolling stone of that size would surely arouse the suspicion of the roman cohort. Second, some scholars have argued that the guard was Jewish and not Roman, and thus subject to falling asleep or being bribed.

And this story has been spread among Jewish people to this day. This polemic against the resurrection is affirmed by the gospel writer to be wide-spread and well-known among the antagonistic Jews. In order for this polemic to work to protect the Jewish people against belief in the resurrection, it must be addressing a real reason that people were becoming convinced of the resurrection. At the time, the Jewish polemic may have served to dissuade some people from accepting Jesus and the resurrection; however, for the modern hearer, it affirms exactly the opposite.

This theory is easy to dismiss as historically fallacious due to many facts. First, the following early Christian creeds all affirmed the validity of the resurrection: Romans ; ; 1 Corinthians ; Philippians ; Luke ; 1 Timothy ; 1 Peter ; Romans ; Ephesians ; 1 Thessalonians As these sections are recognized as creedal, they demonstrate not only the views of their authors Peter, Paul and Luke , but also of the early Christian community dating back to the first few years of Christianity.

Importantly, Paul and James held to these early creeds. Both of these men were not converted by a testimony from the disciples, but rather by direct appearances of Jesus resurrected. Their agreement is further evidence, since there is no reason for them to have gone along with or been brought into a conspiracy involving the disciples. Additionally, the disciples would have had to maintain their conspiracy throughout their lives, but everything about their lives demonstrates that if they did steal the body they should have come clean at some point. For instance, none of the disciples had the proper motivation for maintaining a conspiracy.

They did not stand to gain any money, power, or women from maintaining that Jesus rose from the dead. There is one other major archaeological find that seems to implicitly corroborate the resurrection by way of verifying a disturbance that resulted from the discovery of an empty tomb. But if anyone legally charges that another person has destroyed, or has in any manner extracted those who have been buried, or has moved with wicked intent those who have been buried to other places, committing a crime against them, or has moved sepulcher-sealing stones, against such a person I order that a judicial tribunal be created, just as [is done] concerning the gods in human religious observances, even more so will it be obligatory to treat with honor those who have been entombed.

You are absolutely not to allow anyone to move [those who have been entombed]. But if [someone does], I wish that [violator] to suffer capital punishment under the title of tomb-breaker. In order to see how this inscription relates to the resurrection, it is vital to understand its historical purpose.

Billington argues persuasively for the inscription origin to be dated to 41 A. That Claudius would have known that the Jesus and His resurrection were the central issue is clear from statements made to people in the Roman government. Additionally, the inscription highlights specific aspects of the empty tomb narrative that seem to indicate Claudius had that story in mind when he wrote the edict. Gentiles in the first century were buried in the ground in coffins or cremated.

Another substantial line of evidence in support of the resurrection comes from independent, non-Christian, and enemy attestation that the earliest Christians believed in the resurrection of Jesus.

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When taken in tandem with the evidence for the empty tomb, this testimony demonstrates that alternative explanations and anti-resurrection polemics proposed to Jews and Gentiles alike were not sufficient to dissuade or deter the disciples and others from professing and believing that Jesus was actually resurrected. Thus, these ancient literary fragments demonstrate that the resurrection explanation was not a myth made up at a later date but originated from the event itself and is best explained by that event.

Josephus was a Roman historian for Emperor Vespasian in the first century A.

And up until this very day the tribe of Christians, named after him, has not died out. Before engaging in a discussion of the Testimonium Flavianum it is important to remember that it is one of the most hotly debated sections of ancient literature and though many scholars think they have the final say on the Testimonium, no single theory has emerged as dominant.

The controversy around the Testimonium centers on the fact that from the first few centuries A. First, it seems as though both of the later renditions of the Testimonium share utilize chronicle of Theophilus of Edessa as a source, which is dated to A. Though textual criticism refuses to give up the secrets of the authenticity of the Testimonium, historical and literary analysis may provide the answers for which scholars and apologists have been searching.


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Recent scholarship has led to the investigation of the Testimonium in terms of its place of origin and the possible role of oration in determining its meaning. New Testament scholar John Curran draws attention to the fact that Josephus originally wrote and presented Antiquities in Rome and that the Latin copies preserved via Jerome are the best manuscripts and accurately record what Josephus said. If this proves to be the case, then the testimonium preserved in the Latin texts is most likely reflective of the original.

Using the Latin version as the original text yields a novel understanding of the Testimonium as a negative, antagonist polemic against Christianity.


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  8. At the time Josephus wrote Antiquities, he was addressing the conflict between Rome and the Jews as well as commenting on how the Jews were to understand their relationship with God in a post-Temple setting. What purpose does the Testimonium have in this setting? Suetonius, who will be analyzed below, recounts that Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome because of some of their Christian beliefs.

    He wants to distance the Jews from the Christians and make it clear that the Christians were responsible for theological issues with which the Romans took issue. Now that a negative interpretation of the Testimonium is plausible, there are a number of textual attacks that can be seen. There are many important implications that can be derived from this reading.

    First, it explains why early Christian apologists did not use the Testimonium in their arguments. If it had a negative connotation, early apologists would likely ignore it. Third, it takes on an apologetic value similar to the Jewish Polemic and the Nazareth Inscription.

    gulnemara.gq: The Resurrection of Jesus

    The Testimonium is hostile enemy evidence that supports the idea that the early Christians did indeed believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the very inception of the church. Tacitus lived from 56 to A.

    Their name comes from Christ, who, during the reign of Tiberius, had been executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate. Suppressed for the moment, the deadly superstition broke out again, not only in Judea, the land which originated this evil, but also in the city of Rome. To defend his third point Carrier cites the fires of Cassius Dio and Suetonius; however, to assume that these fires resulted in a Rome-wide loss of all historical information is a far-fetched tale.

    So unrealistic is that suggestion that Matthew had to use the circumlocution " The day after the day of Preparation " rather than admit such a meeting would have disgraced the Sabbath! But they are the least of the difficulties.

    A Bunch Of Reasons The Empty Tomb Is Historical

    Was it a case that the Jewish priests understood clearly Jesus' prediction of his resurrection in three days but the disciples remained clueless? Matthew closes his tale with the eleven on a mountain in Galilee and the promised appearance of Jesus. Even now some doubt but he commissions them anyway to " go make disciples of all nations ".

    A Case For The Resurrection: The Empty Tomb

    And that he was seen of Cephas , then of the twelve. After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once ; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James ; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me. Luke, also working from Mark's original yarn, has nothing to say about "guards" or an "earthquake" but makes a simple enough enhancement to the opening scene: the single angel becomes " two men in shining garments ".

    He clarifies that they are, in fact, angels by having them materialize in the presence of the "perplexed" women. The angels' message spoken in unison? The obedient women go tell " the eleven and all the rest " but are not believed and Luke doesn't mention the women again.

    However, rising star Peter is sufficiently stirred by their report that he rushes off to the tomb himself where he finds the discarded burial clothes and "marvels". Luke now intrudes his own major contribution into the "resurrection tradition" — the Emmaus encounter. This is the "most detailed" of all the resurrection reports — a whole twenty verses!

    Oddly enough, for what is arguably the most important country walk in history, the two witnesses are otherwise unknown and only one is even named! The yarn almost certainly post-dates what follows and has been patched into an earlier point in the tale.

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    Luke reports that a man named "Cleopas" and an unnamed individual were on their way to Emmaus a town so poorly attested that nine sites contend for the honour! Luke's Jesus lectures the "foolish" men on their failure to believe the prophets :. And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself. This stress on scriptural prophecy — rather than the sheer marvel of resurrection — betrays the didactic purpose of the passage. Confronted with a risen corpse who would need a scriptural endorsement to believe?!

    The whole purpose is to demand belief from scripture without evidence. The episode finishes with a gesture towards the Eucharist. At dinner, Jesus becomes " known to them in the breaking of bread. Although both Mark and Matthew made declarations that Jesus was " going ahead " and would appear to the disciples in Galilee , Luke decides that an appearance in Jerusalem is more appropriate.

    A primary concern of Luke is to establish that the risen Jesus is real "flesh and blood" and not merely a spirit. As the "Emmaus two" are about to relate their experience to the others, they are stalled by a group affirmation,. This is testimony given without a word of supportive detail and arguably the most pathetic of all the post-mortem appearances.

    The two return to their own story, only to be stalled a second time by " Jesus himself standing in the midst of them. Their doubts can't be that great! See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have. Luke is pressing home the point. Here is a physical presence not just any old spiritual presence — that sort of thing happens all the time!

    His Jesus not only invites touches, he wants something to eat. The groupies serve up a curious mix of broiled fish and in some later manuscripts honeycomb. Fish is clearly symbolic: Jerusalem is a long way from the sea or any large river! Honeycomb was added to the text after the Church itself adopted the practice of giving honeycomb to neophytes at their first Eucharist. Luke's Jesus now makes the crucial didactic point that " all things must be fulfilled " that were written about him in " the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms.